Taking care of your people is such a common phrase in the workplace. Managers and leaders use it often when describing managers and what they should be doing. There is only one problem, many managers, supervisors, and leaders have no idea what it means to take care of your people.
The most common technique people employ to attempt this feat is only to give people what they want. Although listening to your people’s wishes and desires is vital to a manager, only doing what they want will not improve the organization or the morale of its members. Let’s clarify what caring for your people is and how to do it.
Taking care of your people means ensuring they have what they need to do their job to the best of their abilities. They need material things, like staplers or trucks, or psychological things, like encouragement and praise. They also need standards and a supervisor willing to hold them to the standard and encourage them to exceed it. People hate working for a bad organization. It is like playing for a losing team. Nobody is happy when the team is consistently losing!
In my experience, I have found most managers only focus on one or two of these aspects. They usually understand the need for the physical tools their employees need but fail to realize employees don’t need sleep pods in their workspace to be happy or any other number of incentives managers use to improve morale and performance. Please don’t misunderstand; many of these incentives can help. Still, if the organization’s foundation is not strong, the morale and performance of the organization will be poor, and these things will only provide a temporary boost. They are a Band-Aid for problems.
First, a leader needs to know that you achieve a high-functioning organization with high morale by ensuring employees know how to do their job and the manager holds them to high standards.
Second, they need to know the manager expects all staff to contribute to the goals equally or in their way by discussing their contribution with a supervisor.
Third, the leader needs to ensure there is fun in the workplace. So often, fun is seen as a waste of time. If your people don’t have a good time at work, they will soon lose the desire to come to work. Find ways to have fun.
Lastly, reinforce the behaviors you wish to encourage the type of culture you want.
My final point is about momentum. If you are on a losing team with low morale and poor performers but are not in a position to hire or fire, don’t be afraid to start in one area and focus on it intensely until it is correct. Once those things start to fall in place, you will be able to use the momentum to make other changes and improvements. If you implement the fun stuff too soon, you will lose when you start focusing on the more challenging work standards. Build a solid foundation on the core tasks and then move out from there.